It’s Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

Posted November 15, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life

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Beware! This could happen to you.

You open your refrigerator and your olfactory sensory neurons are suddenly attacked by a horrendous smell. Your refrigerator stinks! It’s time to clean it out.

Pull out those veggie, fruit, and cheese drawers. Dump and examine the contents. Who knows what you may find – petrified peas, a hairy strawberry, moldy cheese. And what’s on those overcrowded refrigerator shelves? Leftover Chinese takeout from last month, a piece of not-so-fresh fish you forgot to fry, chunky milk? Take it out. Get rid of that grub and scrub-a-dub-dub! Warm soapy water and a fresh sponge will clean up those spills in no time. And don’t forget to replace that two-year-old box of baking soda that supposed to keep your refrigerator smelling clean. Now that your refrigerator sparkles and you have received the Good Housekeeping Award, give yourself a pat on the back, and quick – empty out the garbage!

 

Speaking of stinky refrigerators, check out these two books by Josh Funk. Smells like a good deal.

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The Case of the Stinky Stench written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney, Sterling Children’s Books, 2017

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Mission Defrostable written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney, Sterling Children’s Books, 2018

Happy Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

 

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Time

Posted November 8, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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“…it can come and go and you never even notice it was there.”

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In Forever or a Day, Sarah Jacoby’s poetic text refers to something that is elusive. The first two pages depict a young child staring out a window as the sun rises. In the almost deserted street with skyscrapers in the background, there is a newspaper truck with Times written on the side. This is the first hint of what that elusive something is. Throughout the book, readers see a family as they move through the day. They pack suitcases, ride on a train, visit family and spend a day with them at the beach followed by an evening campfire. All too soon, their visit is over, and they retrace their steps back to their city home. Sarah Jacoby‘s illustrations are rendered in watercolors, color sticks, and mixed media. Page turns reveal bright and colorful daytime scenes and dark and sparkly nighttime scenes. Within the beautiful illustrations and text, there are layers to this story. It’s about family, love, mindfulness, and the passage of time –  time that can be elusive. This is a book you need to read slowly. Enjoy it. Appreciate it – especially with someone you love.

Hello! Hello! Hello!

Posted November 1, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

Tags: ,

Lighthouses stand tall and shine their guiding lights warning ships at sea of danger and help them navigate safely.

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Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall invites readers to enter the world of a lighthouse keeper from days gone by. The shape of the book is tall like a lighthouse, and Sophie Blackall’s illustrations repeat the circular features of the lighthouse throughout the book. In the first few pages, the reader sees a cutaway showing the many different levels and living spaces. Sophie Blackall’s charming illustrations done in ink and watercolor depict the warmth of the inside in contrast to the sometimes raging weather on the outside. Readers learn of the day-to-day tasks that must be done. The keeper is in charge of polishing lenses, refilling oil, trimming wicks, and winding clockwork that keeps the lamp in motion. When there is fog, a bell must be rung to warn those at sea to stay away. When snow and ice build up on the lantern room windows, it must be chipped away. And everything that happens is kept in a logbook, including the birth of the keeper’s daughter. Sophie Blackall’s rhythmic text suggests the rolling sound of waves, and she cleverly weaves the repetitive “Hello! Hello! Hello!” throughout the story showing the changing seasons and passage of time. Her beautiful words and illustrations make this unique lighthouse book shine.

Make sure to check out the back matter for more information on lighthouses.

 

 

And the Answer Is …

Posted October 25, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Author/Illustrator

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Where was I last week?

I was in New London, NH, having a conversation with a very well-known author/illustrator. That’s another clue for you. But, before I reveal who I had the pleasure of spending quality time with, here are a few more clues.

This gentleman

is amazing,

loves wearing scarves,

has won a Caldecott Honor Award and a Newbery Honor Award, to name only a few of his  many awards,

and his newest picture book is on the New York Times Best Sellers list at #8.

Are you ready?

QUIET and listen up.

The answer is…

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Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is a multi-talented, author/illustrator/teacher, and winner of many prestigious awards. At 84 years young, Tomie continues to work on numerous projects in his studio – a 200-year-old renovated barn.

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Besides illustrating books, Tomie’s many artistic projects also include liturgical art. He is in the process of working on a mural for a chapel dear to his heart. He is also co-writing and illustrating the Andy & Sandy easy-to-read picture book series, will be giving his artistic touch to two Little Free Libraries, and has enough other projects to keep him busy for years.

Little Free Libraries Waiting for Tomie’s Magic Touch

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Tomie’s creative process begins with the story which he writes in longhand. When it comes to illustrating, Tomie prefers the tried and true method. He uses line drawing, a paint brush, and acrylic paints. He says he likes “feeling the paper/feeling the brush.”

Coming from an Irish/Italian background, many of his books are written from that perspective. Tomie’s favorite book is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs. It’s an autobiographical story of his Irish great-grandmother and Irish grandmother. His close family ties could be seen and felt when he spoke about the day he ran to Nana Upstairs’ room and found her bed empty. He remembers exactly how the room looked and how he felt when he learned his great-grandma had passed away. He recreated that moment in his picture book.

In his studio, there is a special area where Tomie spends meditative time each morning. It’s a place where he can slowly breathe in and breathe out, be prayerful and appreciate the world around him.

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While visiting, I also had the privilege of touring his home. It’s filled with collections of Native American and early American folk art. Throughout his home, you’ll also find numerous candles, religious art, and artifacts. Everything is in perfect order. A newer addition to Tomie’s house, which he dubbed the Mercer Room, is light and bright and filled with colorful art from Mexico and his own paintings.

The Mercer Room

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Tomie has a particular connection with the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady Of Guadalupe. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found in almost every room of his home and studio.

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More Art and Artifacts

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Tomie also enjoys eating, cooking, and entertaining.

How’s this for a well-appointed kitchen?

My time with Tomie dePaola was an incredible experience. He is a kind, gentle man who makes you feel like you’ve known him forever. He respects others, works hard, and has a great sense of humor. No matter who you are, Tomie dePaola readily welcomes you into his extraordinary world. I was lucky to be a part of it!

Quiet is a perfect book to share with young and old in our fast-paced world.

Quiet

Quiet written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 2018.

KNOCK, KNOCK! WHO’S THERE?

Posted October 18, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Uncategorized

Guess where I am today?

Here are some clues.

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A studio library filled with art books.

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An authentic pizza oven!

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Scarves for every occasion.

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Art supplies galore used by a multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrator!

 

Can you guess who answered the door when I knocked?

 

Tune in next week to find out and for more exciting information.

 

 

When a House Is No Longer a Home

Posted October 11, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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As someone who has always been curious about interesting houses and the people who live in them, I found A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS to be fascinating.

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Julie Fogliano masterfully tells the story of two children who discover a house deep in the woods. A house that is abandoned. “A house that once was but now isn’t a home.” A house that is slowly falling apart and being taken over by the forest vegetation and animals. A house that invites the curious children inside. They respectfully explore the interior, taking note of objects left behind wondering and imagining what the people and animals were like who once inhabited the house. Who were they? What did they do? Where did they go? Where are they now?  So many questions! So many things to think about! As the children leave to return to their cozy and warm home, they wonder if the house is waiting for the owners to return … waiting to become a home again.

Julie Fogliano’s lyrical language and rhyme whisper to the reader to come and explore with the children. Her text combined with Lane Smith‘s whimsical and enchanting illustrations will encourage readers to examine every detail and enjoy their adventure.

This book sparks the imagination and begs to be read over and over.

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name?

Posted October 4, 2018 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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Have you ever wondered why you have the name you do? If you have, you’re not alone. Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela wonders how she got her name. In her opinion, her name is much too long. In the book, Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, Alma learns the significance of her name and why it fits her.

Alma

Alma’s father explains that each part of Alma’s name was given to her for a special reason. They are all names of relatives – two grandmothers, a great-grandmother, a grandfather, and a great-aunt. As Alma listens to her father, she begins to see that each name has a story to tell and how much in common she has with her relatives. The illustrations have a muted tone and are done with print transfers on handmade textured paper, graphite and colored pencils. The text and engaging illustrations come together to create a sweet story of family names, special talents, and love.


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